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Drink Review: Tomintoul 16 Year Old

Long known as ‘the gentle dram’ Tomintoul 16yo is soft and nutty, with a pleasant richness. A Gold Medal winner at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), this is a cracking dram for the money.

Tomintoul 16 Review

This dram is produced at the Tomintoul Distillery, Speyside, with Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Tomintoul Distillery is one of the largest distilleries in Scotland and is owned by Whyte and Mackay. They produce an estimated 20 million bottles of spirits every year, and have earned the reputation as the ‘gentle dram’. This is because of its velvet smoothness, lack of smoke, lush aroma and sweet finish.

The Tomintoul 16yo malt won a Gold medal at the 2006 International Wine and Spirits Competition, and received the silver for its 15yo malt at the 2006 International Spirits Challenge.

The whisky got its name from the village of Tomintoul, a traditional name for a farm of one of the word’s Gaelic languages, which could mean “Hill of the Cattle”. The distillery was built by John Galt in 1828 shortly after he arrived from Aberdeenshire. The distillery had a relatively steady rate of whisky production during its time in operation, until two events affected its operation. The first was the phylloxera outbreak in France in the 1870s, sending spirits prices through the roof. The second was the Great War in 1914; as a result of the World War, the distillery had to close. At this time it was revived and continued to operate until 1983, when it was closed again. In 1991 it was reopened, and then eventually sold to what is now the Edrington Group (who own Macallan and Highland Park) in 2001.

The Tomintoul Distillery is over 150 years old, and has an unique feature – it is the only distillery in Scotland to still employ a waterwheel.

Another feature of the distillery is that it is used to produce some of Macallan’s special releases. It is also closed with an unusual industrial building – the Power Station, which was built in 1906.

Tasting Notes: The nose is quite strong and expressive. It is sweet and pleasant, with some fruit aromas and some scents of vanilla. The palate has a good rich sherry taste initially, but then an easy softness and a smokiness that leads to a creamy finish with some fruit hints that linger at the end of the mouth after sip.

The taste is a woody sherry sweetness with a honey-like finish. It is unusually long lasting and warming. The overall whisky has a delightful mixture of fruity and smoky flavours. It is not overly woody or one-dimensional, and is a smooth dram that is both warming and very flavoursome.

Written by Mark Adams

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